Letter to BS: Anti-profiteering authority's term should not be extended

It is high time the CII and the FICCI take up the issue to free the economy from this vice like grip of the anti-profit authority

illustration by binay sinha
Illustration by Binay Sinha

I refer to the edit “Unfair intervention” (May 1) which holds that the term of the anti-profiteering authority should not be extended. This article is both timely and appropriate. I fully agree with the contention that the two-year sunset horizon must take place as the original intention was like that. Extending the life of the director general of anti-profiteering will be great disaster for the economy. The department of revenue and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs will try hard to continue it saying that many cases being investigated which should be allowed to be finished. The Indian Revenue Service will also find it a source to increase the number of posts at higher level for better promotion of the senior officers who have been recruited in huge numbers, but who have hardly any work. This view is not right. The existing cases can be looked after by the other directorates which are aplenty now. 

Coming to the merit of the anti-profit organisation, to begin with, the introduction of this system was a huge mistake. Studies by empirical analysis by experts such as Alan Tait in his book, Value Added Tax: International Practice and Problems, have shown that there is no inflationary tendency associated with introduction of VAT. And in India we converted VAT (already introduced earlier in 2005) into the GST by amalgamation of taxes. Capitalism must be allowed to thrive. Profit is not a dirty word. Market forces will play out any extra undue profit. Populist measures to impress people is not necessary as that will kill the system. 

It is known that no other country in the world has this law. Not America, England, Europe, Japan, China, Russia and others. Only Malaysia has it. The empowered committee noted this. Since when has Malaysia become the leader of thoughts in economics to our GST Council? And this provision will be a great hurdle to the government's policy of improving the ease of doing business. There is Competition Commission and so there is no need to have another watchdog on the same issue. In 1991 liberalisation took place which made the economy free from interference. This good tendency for the business to thrive must continue. It is high time the CII and the FICCI take up the issue to free the economy from this vice like grip of the anti-profit authority.

Sukumar Mukhopadhyay via email

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